Single camera three-dimensional endoscope system using a ferroelectric liquid crystal device
Imaging and display systems that allow the user to obtain distance information and evaluate changes in the relative positions of objects are finding increasing numbers of applications, one area that is of increasing importance is that of stereoscopic endoscopy. Perception of depth through stereoscopic imaging has been shown to give significant improvements in the efficiency with which surgeons carry out operations. Current stereoendoscope systems utilise a two camera system combined with either dual lenses or a single lens plus image splitter system for image capture. A camera and display system is described that allows stereoscopic pairs of images to be obtained through a standard single lens endoscope using a novel electro-optic shutter combined with a standard CCD camera. The use of this ferroelectric liquid crystal shutter allows the optical path to be switched at video frame rates and offers the advantages of being lightweight, simple to drive and having no moving parts. The present system uses field sequential display of the two images combined with FELC shutter glasses to present the left and right images to the user's eyes, although ‘glasses free’ systems could be implemented directly in combination with this camera arrangement.
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